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Necklaces: A link to the past
Throughout history, necklaces and neck adornments have been used to signify
social status and wealth, to denote religious or cultural affiliation, or
simply to beautify. Materials used range from simple bits of wood or bone to
elaborately constructed pendants and ornately inscribed beads. Modern
necklaces often showcase precious metals and gemstones.
The first known necklaces were discovered in an archeological dig in the Cave
of Pigeons in northeastern Morocco. Consisting of thirteen mollusk shells that
had been dyed with red ocher, these primitive beads are estimated to be over
82,000 years old. Small holes had been drilled into the beads, suggesting that
they were strung and worn as necklaces; they may also have been used as
Ceremonial necklaces were often a vital part of religious proceedings in
ancient Egypt. The menit, or menyet, necklace is portrayed in many artworks of
the time; it consisted of a crescent-shaped front attached to a bead necklace,
with a weight that was designed to hang down the back of the wearer. This
necklace was sacred to the goddess Hathor, a fertility goddess whose aspects
included the sun, music, and art. Both priests and priestesses of Hathor wore
her holy symbol; some speculate that it was used as a percussion instrument
during some religious ceremonies.
In ancient England, the Celts wore torcs, twisted collars that were usually
open at the front and were indicative of the wearer’s free-born status; men
and women alike wore torcs. They were also used to designate nobility and
battle prowess. Torcs were fashioned from various metals, including bronze,
gold, and silver; many included small representations of animal heads,
intended to call down the protection of deities, invoke animal spirits, or
suggest that the wearer shared traits in common with the depicted animal.
During the Middle Ages, religious icons and rosary beads enjoyed widespread
popularity. These necklaces served a religious purpose for the masses, and
were not considered ornaments or decorations. At the same time, the clergy and
other officials began wearing elaborate badges of office, usually suspended by
chains around the neck and elaborately jeweled, that denoted their rank and
influence within the church or the government. Meanwhile, the noblemen and
women of European society began exchanging and wearing golden chains and
pendants as marks of friendship or affection.
Today, necklaces are still used in many of the same ways. Far from being
simple adornments, necklaces are used as indicators of social and financial
status, given as tokens of esteem, and used in religious observances. Lockets
can hold treasured keepsakes, like a lock of hair or a picture of a loved one.
In modern companies, badge holders are often worn around the neck, allowing
this specialized “necklace” to serve as identification as well. From cheap
plastic to 24-carat gold, necklaces are a beautiful link to humanity’s past.
| Necklaces - probably the largest choice of Necklaces in the UK!|